The Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund is proud to announce a new national partnership with Special Olympics Canada. The partnership will center on providing increased access to nutrition education for Canadians with intellectual disabilities.

Launched in 2014, the Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund supports access to and the advancement of better food through donations and partnerships with national and regional charities. The Fund has three distinct areas of focus:

Eat Better - food access through the support of food banks and meal programs

Feel Better - health management, prevention and research on food-related health issues

Do Better - food literacy through nutrition education and cooking skills

A common thread in all Special Olympics Canada programs, whether daily sport programs or Team Canada on the world stage, is the need for increased focus on the importance of good nutrition. Research shows that Canadians with intellectual disabilities face significant adverse health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Nutrition education is critical to reducing the risk of chronic disease.

Data on the health status of individuals with intellectual disabilities indicates that 60% of adult Special Olympics athletes are obese and overweight. Of those athletes screened in the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program, 27% had low bone density and the overall mortality rate of people with intellectual disabilities is more than five times higher than people the same age, sex and residence.

The partnership between Special Olympics Canada and the Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund will result in early introduction of better food, knowledge and skills in order to help combat the increased risk of chronic disease, additional stresses of families with members that have an intellectual disability and the need for increased food knowledge. Thousands of Canadians living with intellectual disabilities – from 2 years of age to senior citizens – as well as their families, caregivers and coaches will access nutrition guides, cooking classes and fresh accessible food, through the hundreds of local Special Olympics programs across the country.

"Together with Special Olympics Canada, the Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund will make better food possible for families, athletes and coaches in the Special Olympics Canada community," said Marc Poulin, President and CEO, Sobeys Inc. "This is just the beginning of an exciting partnership that will result in more of our neighbours living with intellectual disabilities eating better, feeling better and doing better."